Saturday, November 17, 2012
Bono, the musician from the band U2 spoke recently at Georgetown University. While waiting for the lecture to begin one reporter overheard a student in attendance tell a friend that his dad loved U2 and played the Joshua Tree album over and over again when he was a kid. Back in the old days of U2. Actually, the band has staying power even if Bono is 52.
When he took to the stage he mused "I don't know if this is a lectern or a pulpit, but I feel oddly comfortable. It's a bit of a worry, isn't it? So ... welcome to Pop Culture Studies 101. Please take out your notebooks. Today we are going to discuss why rock stars should never, ever be given access to microphones at institutes of higher learning."
According to the reporter Bono preached, which is what happens from pulpits, and with power -- for an hour. His audience/congregation was with him.
Bono made reference to Georgetown's Catholic and Jesuit roots:
"St. Ignatius, he was a soldier. He was lying on a bed recovering from his wounds when he had what they call a conversion of the heart. He saw God's work and the call to do God's work. Not just in the church, in everything, everywhere. The arts, universities, the Orient, the New World. And once he knew about that, he couldn't unknow it. It changed him. It forced him out of bed and into the world. And that's what I'm hoping happens here in Georgetown with you. Because when you truly accept that those children in some far off place in the global village have the same value as you -- in God's eyes or even just in your eyes -- then your life is forever changed. You see something that you can't unsee."
These days when people say someone is preachy you know it is a bad thing. And the pulpit is the place from which one bullies people. Some preachers don't stand in the pulpit anymore -- imagine that! But there is still a place literally and figuratively for proclamation of justice and the Good News of the kingdom -- even coming from a rock star.
What do you think of "preachers" such as Bono? Do they have credibility as the rich and famous? Does preaching have a negative connotation for you, or positive? What makes for effective preaching? Careful now!